Air Ranma (Part #1)
7 Weeks Prior...
"What do you mean, Spring of Drowned Pan- AHHH!!!"
"Oh no, young sir has just fallen into Spring of Drown Amazon Girl. There is tragic legend, VERY tragic, of Amazon girl who drown in spring one thousand and five hundred year ago!"
6 Weeks Prior...
"Oh man, why the heck did you have to eat the tournament prize?"
A sign was held up that read, 'I was hungry.'
"Well, I still think it was a pretty stupid. In fact, I starting to think that coming to China in general was just plain dumb. I mean really, with the stupid curses and everything else... Pop?"
"Hey, Pop, where'd you go?"
4 Weeks Prior...
"Um... hi. Uh, my name is Saotome Ranma. Are... are you my mom?"
Step by step, Saotome Ranma approached the one thing that he currently dreaded the most. The one thing that he knew he was ill prepared for, both intellectually and socially. Something that, due to his constant traveling with his father, he had managed to avoid for the most part.
"Now Ranma, everyone has to go to school. You should feel lucky that you got into as good a high school as Furinkan, even with your rather skewed placement scores."
"But Mom, they're all just going to stare at me. Everyone else does. Besides, you know I always get splashed at the stupidest moments..."
"I know, but we've prepared as best we can. Now, how does the uniform fit?"
"It feels weird."
"Sorry about that, hopefully you'll get used to it. I had to make sure there was stretching room in case of accidents since, as you have so clearly demonstrated, they do happen. Now, do you have your books?"
"Ya, I have them, and the thermos you bought me, and my lunch, AND both of my ID cards."
"Good, I don't want another phone call from a truancy officer about my 'daughter' not being in school. Now, let me check your braid and... ah, what was it called again?"
"The Dragon Whisker."
"Right. Okay, it's nice and secured, so no problems with that either." With a tired smile and sigh Nodoka then added, "You're a regular handful. Now, off to school with you."
And so Ranma walked out the door to face one of his hardest battles....
There were some days in which she just didn't want to go to school. Of course, everyone at least occasionally had thoughts like that, but for her they had become a daily mantra, because...
"There is Tendo Akane!"
...every morning, it was the same thing.
"This time for sure I shall defeat you for a date!"
Every morning, like a stone wall, they tried to stop her.
"No Akane! It is ME who shall stop you!"
Every morning, like an ocean wave, they tried to consume her.
"I won't let another man defeat you, I'll do it myself!"
And like every other morning, they ultimately failed.
Brushing her bangs out of her eyes, Akane paused to survey the damage. Twenty-one boys were laid out, most of them moaning in pain, a few were unconscious. She took heart in the fact that there were less of them this week then last, which again was less then the week prior. Eventually, she hoped, they would just give up.
Seeing a motion out of the corner of her eye she reflexively caught something headed towards her... and almost groaned aloud as she recognized the rose for what it was.
While the other boys might eventually give up, she doubted HE ever would.
"Truly, they make such a boorish lot. Evidently each intends to ask you out, on the dawn that he finally defeats you."
She sighed. "Oh. Good morning upperclassman."
"Now then, Tendo Akane, might you fight with me?"
And so, two minutes later, she finished what had become her morning ritual. Dusting off her skirt, she then picked up her bag and-
"Whoa! You're not too bad."
Clenching her teeth in frustration, Akane spun towards the male voice, obviously another idiot that had come late to fight her, and... stared. So did the other spectators, as the tallest boy she had ever seen approached her, gingerly stepping around bodies in the process.
"Um... hi. I was wondering, which way is the main office? I'm kinda new here."
Craning her neck upward she continued to stare. Eventually, one of her arms slowly raised and pointed out a direction.
"Ah... thanks. Bye."
And then he stepped past her, and was gone.
It took her almost two minutes to remember to lower her arm.
"Hey, who was that guy talking with Akane?"
"I don't know, but he was wearing a Furinkan uniform. Maybe he's a new student here?"
"Did you see how tall he was?"
"I just want to know if he's already dating someone..."
Stepping away from the second floor window, Nabiki removed herself from the immediate conversations and paused in thought.
She wasn't terribly worried about her little sister's ability to handle the morons that attacked her each morning, nor was she worried about upperclassman Kuno Tatewaki, since everyone knew he wasn't trying his hardest against her, a fact that Akane brutally used to her advantage.
No, like everyone else, she wanted to know about this new guy. While no martial artist herself, she had grown up surrounded by them her whole life, and she could recognize the signs. She didn't know how good he was, but his size alone probably made him a formidable opponent. These, and other things, she needed to know.
And besides, even she had to agree. He was cute.
Ranma watched from the corner of his eye as the teacher finally tore his gaze away and, after clearing his throat a couple times, said, "Class, as you can see we have a new student starting today." Then feebly waving at Ranma he added, "Please, ah, introduce yourself."
Quickly taking in the wide eyes and stares he took a deep breath and pushed down the strong impulse to jump out the nearest window. "I'm Saotome Ranma. Er... pleased to meet you."
A strained silence followed.
Again clearing his throat the teacher finally broke it by saying, "Saotome, why don't you take a seat... in the back."
"Sure." With that, he picked a seat in the far corner, next to a window, and sat. It took another moment, highly scrutinized by the students around him, to situate his long legs underneath the desk comfortably.
It had barely begun, and he already knew it was going to be a long day.
With the ring of the lunch bell signaling his chance to escape Ranma quickly used it, almost running over a couple of other students as he ducked out of the class and headed for the school courtyard. At last, a little peace and quiet... or so he hoped.
However, after settling underneath a tree and getting three bites into his bento, he discovered that it just wasn't meant to be.
"Mind if I join you?"
Looking away from his food he found a girl standing a few feet away, watching him with an intense gaze that immediately made him just a little uncomfortable.
He managed another dozen bites as she sat down next to him, opening up her own lunch, before she said, "I'm Tendo Nabiki. Mind if I ask a few questions?"
"Eh... well, you can ASK I guess..."
Nodding at the response she deftly took a bite of her lunch, which looked rather good in Ranma opinion, before she started. "So how old are you?"
An easy enough question, he thought. "I'm, ah, sixteen. Seventeen next week."
Sighing he answered, "Two hundred and fourteen."
"Why do you want to know this stuff, anyway?"
Gesturing to the scattered crowds that he had been trying so hard to ignore Nabiki said, "People want to know. Besides, if I know the answers, they're less likely to bug you for them."
Thinking about that a moment Ranma again sighed before slowly nodding and saying, "One hundred and six kilos."
"Martial arts style?"
"HUH?! Hey, how did you know... er, I just have a big sign on my forehead, don't I?"
"It's not that bad, but for someone who knows what to look for? Yes."
"Oh... I guess that makes sense. Saotome School of Anything Goes Indiscriminate Grappling. It's a family style."
He actually managed a few more bites before he glanced over to find her staring with her mouth open. Not sure how to take that one he asked, "What?"
Suddenly shaking her head she smiled while saying, "Nothing. I was just thinking about something. Hobbies?"
"Hobbies? Uh, that's a hard one. I don't think I really have any... well, not yet anyway."
"Nothing at all?"
Frowning he debated. Did he... no, not yet. "No, nothing special."
Again he found her gazing at him, though this time it was with a calculating look that once more made him nervous as all hell. He almost sighed in relief when she finally looked away to take another bite of her lunch.
"Earth to Ranma. Are you married? Engaged? Currently dating someone?"
With a slight shiver he firmly stated "Ack... no way. I've got enough problems already."
"Well then, I guess that's all... for now. Enjoy your lunch, Ranma-kun."
And with that, she packed up her remaining lunch and left.
Walking home he went over the day in his head. To be honest, it hadn't been as bad as he thought it would be. Well, not yet, anyhow. Also, talking with that one girl had been strange, edgy even, but she hadn't acted weirded out or anything also, which was kind of nice. Oh, and he needed to remember to ask that other girl about her martial arts style tomorrow. Some of the moves that he'd seen at the last had looked familiar.
And so walking up to a house that was slowly becoming familiar he stepped inside and took off his shoes while saying, "I'm home."
His mother's voice responded from the vicinity of the kitchen. "Welcome back, Ranma. How was your first day?"
"Well, I managed to not get splashed."
"That's a good start. Make any new friends?"
"Er... maybe, I'm not sure."
"Hmmm, a girl?"
"Is she nice?"
"You know, Mom, I haven't a clue."